Posted: Wednesday 1st April 2020
You might have seen Chief Constable Andy Marsh on BBC’s Newsnight at the start of the week discussing the tireless work of his team and what local people can do to help. I fully support his sentiment that the police must continue to work in partnership with local people; we are stronger when we work together.
As we all continue to get used to this new, strange but temporary world, I know officers, PCSOs, staff and teams are working hard to engage, explain and encourage local people to comply with the new regulations. Be rest assured that Avon and Somerset Police do not want to enforce their way out of this problem and will only be using fines as a last resort.
Instead, we need to be open and working together in these challenging times and remember why we have made big changes to our everyday lives: support the NHS, lessen the impact of the virus and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
In response to the numerous reports received to 101 and social media, Avon and Somerset Police have set up a specific covid online form for local people to report past incidents where there is a concern there has been a breach in the coronavirus regulations. The new form will allow call handlers to be free to respond to ongoing incidents that officers need to deal with immediately, but, please remember, if an emergency is taking place ring 999 or 101.
I want to stress that the majority of local people are adhering to regulations and continue to be understanding and compassionate. However, there are still some people who are gathering and meeting in groups, ultimately risking lives. Avon and Somerset Police will be using the reports to build a picture of where the breaches are happening, to inform policing patrols and to ensure officers and PCSOs are going to the right locations talking to the right local people.
The important thing to remember – and as the Chief Constable and I have discussed in our Facebook Lives - please stay inside unless it is essential that you leave your house and please do not travel unless it is essential to jump in your car. We want to come out the other side of this pandemic having worked with local communities to save as many lives as possible.
Stay homes. Save Lives.